Insight Guides Pocket Cape Town (Travel Guide eBook)
112 pages

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Insight Guides Pocket Cape Town (Travel Guide eBook)


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112 pages

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Insight Guides Pocket Guide Cape Town

Travel made easy. Ask local experts.
The definitive pocket-sized travel guide.

Compact, concise and packed full of essential information about where to go and what to do, this is an ideal on-the-move guide for exploring Cape Town. From top tourist attractions like Long Street, Boulders Beach and Table Mountain, to cultural gems, including the cell where Nelson Mandela was held on Robben Island, the elegant Cape Dutch mansions of the Cape Winelands, and the breathtaking Tree Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, plan your perfect trip with this practical, all-in-one travel guide. 

Features of this travel guide to Cape Town:
Inspirational itineraries: discover the best destinations, sights and excursions, highlighted with stunning photography
- Historical and cultural insights: delve into the city's rich history and culture, and learn all about its people, art and traditions
- Practical full-colour map: with every major attraction highlighted, the pull-out map makes on-the-ground navigation easy
- Key tips and essential information: from transport to tipping, we've got you covered
Covers: City Centre; Victoria and Alfred Waterfront; Table Mountain; Southern Suburbs; Robben Island; Excursions

Looking for a comprehensive guide to South Africa? Check out insight Guides South Africa for a detailed and entertaining look at all the country has to offer.

About Insight Guides: Insight Guides is a pioneer of full-colour guide books, with almost 50 years' experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides with user-friendly, modern design. We produce around 400 full-colour print guide books and maps, as well as phrase books, picture-packed eBooks and apps to meet different travellers' needs. Insight Guides' unique combination of beautiful travel photography and focus on history and culture create a unique visual reference and planning tool to inspire your next adventure.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781839051043
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0015€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


How To Use This E-Book

Getting Around the e-Book
This Pocket Guide e-book is designed to give you inspiration and planning advice for your visit to Cape Town, and is also the perfect on-the-ground companion for your trip.
The guide begins with our selection of Top 10 Attractions, plus a Perfect Itinerary feature to help you plan unmissable experiences. The Introduction and History chapters paint a vivid cultural portrait of Cape Town, and the Where to Go chapter gives a complete guide to all the sights worth visiting. You will find ideas for activities in the What to Do section, while the Eating Out chapter describes the local cuisine and gives listings of the best restaurants. The Travel Tips offer practical information to help you plan your trip. Finally, there are carefully selected hotel listings.
In the Table of Contents and throughout this e-book you will see hyperlinked references. Just tap a hyperlink once to skip to the section you would like to read. Practical information and listings are also hyperlinked, so as long as you have an external connection to the internet, you can tap a link to go directly to the website for more information.
All key attractions and sights in Cape Town are numbered and cross-referenced to high-quality maps. Wherever you see the reference [map], tap once to go straight to the related map. You can also double-tap any map for a zoom view.
You’ll find lots of beautiful high-resolution images that capture the essence of Cape Town. Simply double-tap an image to see it in full-screen.
About Insight Guides
Insight Guides have more than 40 years’ experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides. We produce 400 full-colour titles, in both print and digital form, covering more than 200 destinations across the globe, in a variety of formats to meet your different needs.
Insight Guides are written by local authors, whose expertise is evident in the extensive historical and cultural background features. Each destination is carefully researched by regional experts to ensure our guides provide the very latest information. All the reviews in Insight Guides are independent; we strive to maintain an impartial view. Our reviews are carefully selected to guide you to the best places to eat, go out and shop, so you can be confident that when we say a place is special, we really mean it.
© 2019 Apa Digital (CH) AG and Apa Publications (UK) Ltd

Table of Contents
Cape Town’s Top 10 Attractions
Top Attraction #1
Top Attraction #2
Top Attraction #3
Top Attraction #4
Top Attraction #5
Top Attraction #6
Top Attraction #7
Top Attraction #8
Top Attraction #9
Top Attraction #10
A Perfect Day in Cape Town
Poignant Past
Rainbow City with a Superb Climate
Spectacular Setting
A Bright Future
A Brief History
The explorers arrive
Colonisation Begins
British Influence
The City Evolves
The Apartheid Era
A New Start
Democracy & Drought
Historical Landmarks
Where To Go
City Centre
Around the Castle of Good Hope
Adderley Street
Around Long Street
Government Avenue
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront
Table Mountain
Southern Suburbs
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Other Suburbs
Robben Island
Cape Peninsula to Cape Point
Atlantic Coast
Nature Reserve
False Bay Coast
Stellenbosch and the Winelands
Stellenbosch to Franschhoek
Hermanus and the Overberg
The Tip of Africa
The Garden Route
Mossel Bay to Wilderness
Little Karoo
Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma
The West Coast and Cederberg
What To Do
Where to Shop
Theatre and Live Music
Spectator Sports
Active Pursuits
Children’s Cape Town
Scenic Train Journeys
Calendar of Events
Eating Out
When to Eat
Cape Malay & Indian Cuisine
Stunning Seafood
Meat, Meat… and More Meat
What to Drink
In Cape Town
Outside The City Centre
Stellenbosch and the Winelands
Hermanus and the tip of Africa
The Garden Route
West Coast
A–Z Travel Tips
Accommodation (see also Camping, Youth Hostels and Recommended Hotels)
Budgeting For Your Trip
Car Hire (see also Driving)
Crime And Safety
Customs And Entry Requirements
Driving (see also Crime And Safety)
Embassies and Consulates
Getting There
Health And Medical Care
LGBTQ Travellers
Opening Hours
Post Offices
Public Transport
Time Zones
Tourist Information (see also Websites)
Weights and Measures
Youth Hostels
Recommended Hotels
In Cape Town
Outside The City Centre
Stellenbosch and the Winelands
Hermanus and the tip of Africa
The Garden Route
West Coast

Cape Town’s Top 10 Attractions

Top Attraction #1
Alex Havret/Apa Publications

Long Street
Central Cape Town’s liveliest thoroughfare. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #2
Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Apa Publications

Boulders Beach
See thousands of African penguins. For more information, click here

Top Attraction #3
Cape Town Tourism

Table Mountain
This landmark offers sweeping views in all directions. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #4
Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Apa Publications

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Popular shopping and dining destination. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #5
Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Apa Publications

Castle of Good Hope
South Africa’s oldest building, dating to 1666. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #6

Go whale-watching. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #7
Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Apa Publications

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
The southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #8
Alex Havret/Apa Publications

Cape Winelands
Acres of green vines surround elegant Cape Dutch mansions. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #9

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Home to beautiful proteas, cycads and the Tree Canopy Walkway. For more information, click here .

Top Attraction #10
Alex Havret/Apa Publications

Robben Island
Where Nelson Mandela was held. For more information, click here .

A Perfect Day in Cape Town


Good Coffee; Great People Watching
Start your day with a flat white and croissant at Tamboers Winkel ( ) on the corner of Kloof and De Lorentz Streets, a hip neighbourhood caffeine den on the side of Table Mountain. Enjoy an excellent cup of coffee among bloggers, models and Capetonians alike.


Get your Green On
Stroll through the open-air market at Greenmarket Square, where you will find a variety of vendors selling clothing and sandals, as well as African jewelry, art, and fabrics.


Art Old and New
Cross the Company’s Garden to the South African National Gallery, where you can view a cornucopia of old masters and South African contemporary art; look out for Jane Alexander’s three ghoulish figures, The Butcher Boys (1985–86), a response to the horrors of apartheid. The gallery is representative of South African history – as told through art.


The Call to Kalk Bay
Jump on the train south to Kalk Bay, to breathe the fresh sea air as you amble along cobblestone streets past tiny galleries and antique shops. The name Kalk Bay is derived from days when seashells were once baked in kilns along the shoreline to produce lime (kalk in Afrikaans). Buy seafood straight off the boat – the fish are still wriggling – or at one of the harbour-side cafes. If you’re feeling energetic, climb one of the stairways to Boyes Drive, where you can spot whales in False Bay below.


Shame and History
Late afternoon, head back to the central V&A Waterfront to catch the last ferry to Robben Island, which leaves at 3pm. Tours of the island are led by former prisoners, who recall hunger strikes and prison life under apartheid. The ferry ride over takes about half hour while the tour itself lasts around three. See this symbol of the apartheid era (1948–90) and you will come to understand more about South Africa’s present and future challenges.


Silo and Tapas
Stepping off the Robben Island ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, you are close to the restaurants and bars of the V&A Waterfront, city centre and Atlantic suburbs. Perhaps wander through the Waterfront’s Silo District, and past the impressive repurposed concrete silo housing the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), to pick up a taxi. Tapas is popular in Cape Town, and the city’s excellent small-plate restaurants include La Parada, which has branches at the Waterfront and on Bree Street, and Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, also on Bree. Especially at the latter, you will be wowed by one of the most innovative menus in Cape Town, excellent service, and a stylish setting. The small tapas dishes are especially tasty and easy to share.


Culture Fix
Head round the corner to the Waiting Room ( ) at 273 Long Street, where live bands and DJs attract a young crowd most nights. For some highbrow entertainment, choral and classical performances take place at the famous St. George’s Cathedral ( ), and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra ( ) regularly plays City Hall. Beneath the cathedral, the Crypt Jazz Restaurant ( ) is an atmospheric venue for live jazz from Tuesday to Saturday.


From the first sight of the unmistakable profile of Table Mountain, Cape Town works its way into your heart. It is easy to fall in love with the city, and each year millions of people from all over the world do just that. Cosmopolitan Cape Town is one of the leading tourist attractions on the African continent, and two-thirds of all visitors to South Africa include it on their itinerary.
The blend of African, European and Islamic influences that gives the ‘Mother City’, as South Africa’s oldest city is known, its true magic is evident immediately. One minute you feel as if you are standing in 18th-century Holland, gazing up at an elegant, gabled building. The next you are in an African craft market, with splashes of brightly coloured fabrics alongside carved masks. Further on, the narrow, cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood echo with the sound of the minarets calling the faithful to prayer.
This cultural mix infuses all aspects of Cape Town life. Township jazz rings out from small bars. Galleries exhibit the best of African and European art. A wealth of shops, craft stalls and flea markets sell everything from antiques to African carvings , traditional garments to designer clothes, and from gourmet food and local craft beer to fresh fruit and aromatic spices. Cape Town’s culinary scene has garnered increasing international attention with fine restaurants offering choices from African cuisine to the distinctive local ‘Cape Malay’ dishes,. People sit at shady sidewalk cafés sipping South African wine and watching street entertainers; expensive yachts dance on the water, mingling with brightly painted fishing boats, sleek cruise liners, and huge container ships laden with cargo from all ports.
Poignant Past
Superb museums chronicle the region’s history, stretching beyond the days of the early settlers, European explorers, and even the nomadic hunter-gatherers that first lived there. The exhibits bring to life a history encompassing brutality and bloodshed, including the displacement of the original native peoples, slavery and, during the second half of the 20thcentury, apartheid. There are reminders everywhere: slave lodges in the courtyards of fine mansions; dioramas of ancient peoples whose way of life was overturned by the arrival of the European settlers; and the undeveloped land and poignant museum in District Six (for more information, click here), a graphic testimony to the divisiveness of apartheid.

Table Mountain
Alex Havret/Apa Publications
A short ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island is now a museum, but more importantly, a symbol of hope. The world remembers it as the prison that held Nelson Mandela, yet its legacy of cruelty extends back more than 300 years. No punches are pulled here; the simple, dignified presentation of the facts is all that is needed to leave visitors reeling. The city has also upped its cultural credentials with the Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation art museums.
Towering above all this activity, rising up like a benevolent giant, is Table Mountain. This legendary landmark first beckoned European seafarers here over 500 years ago, and continues to enthral visitors. Wherever you are in the city, it is impossible not to lift your eyes to catch yet another glimpse. Around a million people catch the cable car to the summit each year, to be greeted by magnificent views of the city, the mountains and the ocean, and to walk among the fascinating wildlife and flora on the plateau.

Girl from Imizamo Yethu township
Ariadne Van Zandbergen/Apa Publications
Rainbow City with a Superb Climate
Perhaps the greatest pleasure gained from visiting Cape Town comes from its inhabitants. Capetonians are laidback and friendly, and everywhere you go you are greeted with a smile. Desmond Tutu famously called South Africa the ‘Rainbow Nation’, and this sums up the ethnic mix that is Cape Town. The main racial groups are so-called coloured people, black Africans and whites. The term ‘coloured’ doesn’t have the same connotations in South Africa as in Britain and the US, and simply refers to South Africans of mixed race. The coloured population evolved through the intermingling of the earliest inhabitants: the San Bushmen, Khoikhoi herders, descendants of slaves from the East Indies, members of African tribes from the north and east, and European settlers. Other descendants of the slaves retained their Islamic faith, and are today known as the Cape Muslim (or Cape Malay) people. The white population mainly comprises the ‘English’ of British descent and Afrikaners, whose genealogy includes Dutch, French Huguenot and German blood. Most locals speak English, but the main mother tongues are Afrikaans, spoken by Afrikaners and coloured people, and Xhosa, characterised by its click sounds.
Cape Town is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, and summer (November–March) sees long days of bright sunshine and temperatures approaching 30°C (86°F) There is also much to be said for visiting at other times of the year, not least that you avoid the crowds. One of the city’s best-kept secrets is that the Cape is at its most beautiful in autumn (April–May) and spring (September–October). The region’s wild flowers are at their spectacular best in spring and whales migrate along the coast during winter and autumn.
Spectacular Setting
There are mountains everywhere: towering over verdant winelands, cradling picturesque Victorian towns, flanking dense forests, and stretching down towards colourful fishing villages, vast expanses of white-sand beach and sparkling waters teeming with marine life.
Much of this can be explored on day-long excursions from the city. You can follow one of the Wine Routes, around towns such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, sampling some of the best South African wines while sitting in a vineyard. Or walk for miles along empty stretches of pristine white sand, spotting whales and dolphins out at sea and decades-old shipwrecks on the beach, then eat delicious seafood in an open-air restaurant set on the shore.
A Bright Future
South Africa is notorious for its history of racial prejudice and segregation, and the legacy of those days can be seen in the Cape Flats, the desolate black townships and coloured areas, where crime and poverty still prevail. However, heartfelt efforts by all sides to come together are also evident. The average Capetonian is appalled by what happened under apartheid and eager to heal the wounds. There is still a great divide between rich and poor, but this is increasingly less along racial lines. Righting the wrongs of the past is a huge undertaking, but the will to succeed is strong.
The local government has made huge efforts to improve security in the city centre. Measures include large numbers of surveillance cameras, mounted police and 70 CCID (Central City Improvement District) officers on patrol. Crime is consequently kept under control in the city centre, and a few basic precautions are all that is needed to have a trouble-free visit. It is important not to visit the townships without a licensed guide (especially at night) for example.
With so much on offer, it is easy to see why so many travellers visit Cape Town and why they find it hard to go home. Chances are, by the time you leave, you’ll be planning your next visit.

Ancient peaks

The Western Cape’s mountains are among the world’s oldest, comprising sedimentary mudstones and sandstones laid down 500-plus million years ago. By comparison, the Alps, Andes, Himalayas and Rockies are babies, having emerged within the last 60 million years, while Mounts Kilimanjaro and Kenya, Africa’s tallest peaks, are a mere 1 and 3 million years old respectively.

A Brief History

Cape Town has earned many nicknames over the years, but perhaps the most apt is the ‘Mother City’. Since the arrival of the first Europeans, it has been the centre for the foundation of modern South Africa.
For tens of thousands of years, this region was the domain of the San Bushmen, nomadic hunter-gathers living off the wealth of game. Beautiful San rock paintings can be seen around the Western Cape, especially in the Cederberg Wilderness Area. The South African Museum in the city centre has some excellent examples preserved in display cases.
Some 2,000 years ago, Khoikhoi cattle herders moved into the area. Although this displaced the San, forcing them inland, the two peoples enjoyed an essentially peaceful coexistence, punctuated by occasional skirmishes. The Khoikhoi tended their herds and traded in cattle with the Bantu-speaking people of the north, and the San continued to hunt antelopes.

Ancient rock carving
Alex Havret/Apa Publications
The explorers arrive
This idyllic life was to change forever in the course of less than 200 years. In the late 15th century the great European powers were engaged in a race to find the best sea route to India, with tremendous wealth from trade in spices and slaves awaiting those who were successful.
In 1488, in his quest to discover the spice route, Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias was blown off course and unwittingly rounded the Cape of Good Hope in a storm. He continued round Cape Agulhas, which is the southernmost point of Africa, and finally landed at what he named Aguado de São Bras (Watering Place of St Blaize) – present-day Mossel Bay – becoming the first-known European to travel this far south. Today, Mossel Bay marks the start of the famous Garden Route. It houses a marvellous museum commemorating Dias, with exhibits including a painstakingly reproduced replica of Dias’s original caravel.

Jan van Riebeeck lands in Table Bay
Getty Images
Dias originally named his cape the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas); it was only renamed Cape of Good Hope (Cabo da Boa Esperança) by John II of Portugal after a second Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, succeeded in opening up the route to the East in 1498. The Cape of Good Hope became a vital stopping-off point for ships travelling to the Indies from Europe, with the Khoikhoi soon establishing a thriving trading relationship with the crews. To keep in touch with home during the lengthy voyages, letters were left by sailors under ‘post office stones’, to be collected by homeward-bound vessels.
The land adjacent to Table Bay was first explored by Europeans in 1503, when yet another Portuguese explorer, Antonio de Saldanha, climbed the great, flat-topped mountain. He named it Table Mountain, carving a cross into the rock at neighbouring Lion’s Head which can still be seen.
The link with Europe was to remain largely unobtrusive for 150 years. Ships would call in, stock up and move on. The Cape was renowned for its great beauty – in 1580 Sir Francis Drake wrote that it was ‘the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth’ – but also for the ferocity of the storms which raged off its shores.
Colonisation Begins
In 1652, the Cape of Good Hope fell under the gaze of the mighty Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; VOC). Formed by the amalgamation of a number of small trading companies in the early 17th century, the Company had grown in just 50 years to be one of the most powerful organisations on earth, with its own army and fleet. Table Bay was considered an ideal location for one of the Company’s bases, to grow food for its crews and serve as a repair station and hospital. Jan van Riebeeck, a 33-year-old surgeon and Company employee, was charged with setting up the post.
Van Riebeeck built a small mud fort on the site where the Castle of Good Hope now stands, and established the nearby Company’s Garden to grow fresh fruit and vegetables – now a popular park in the heart of the city. After plans to work the land with local Khoikhoi labour foundered, slaves were imported from the East Indies. In 1666, the foundations were laid for a much larger fort, and the pentagonal Castle of Good Hope was built. These early years are chronicled in the Military Museum at the castle.
The settlement spread into the surrounding countryside, as grain farming began near what is now the suburb of Rondebosch, and, to expand further, some of the Dutch East India Company’s servants were allowed to become independent farmers. The land, which had for so long been the sole domain of the San and the Khoikhoi, became the property of the Dutch, with Van Riebeeck laying claim to an area near what is now Wynberg, where in 1658 he planted the first large-scale vineyard in South Africa.
The Khoikhoi attempted to expel the Europeans in 1659, but they failed. With the subsequent influx of French and German immigrants in the early 18th century displacing them further, Khoikhoi society began to fall apart, and was decimated by a smallpox epidemic in 1713. The nomadic San moved further afield, but were often attacked by settlers. Some were even shot and stuffed by trophy hunters. Many San and Khoikhoi eventually intermingled, their descendants becoming part of what is known today as the coloured population.
Governor Simon van der Stel was an important influence on the Cape in the latter part of the 17th century. He founded the South African wine industry, building some of the most beautiful mansions and great estates in the Western Cape. Many fine examples of these supremely elegant Cape Dutch buildings still remain.
From 1680 onwards, religious refugees began to arrive from Europe, including Huguenots from France, who planted vineyards around what became known as Franschhoek.
By 1750 the original tiny settlement founded by Van Riebeeck was a small town named Kaapstad – Cape Town – that had over 2,500 inhabitants. A second port opened at Simon’s Bay (today’s Simon’s Town), providing a far safer refuge than the turbulent Table Bay, where shipwrecks were all too common and countless lives were lost to the sea.

Cape Town in 1680
Public domain
British Influence
In 1795, Britain seized control of Cape Town, and thus the sea route to the East, at the Battle of Muizenberg. Under British rule, the monopolies imposed by the Dutch East India Company to protect its own interests were abolished, and much freer trade began. Cape Town became a sea port of international importance, and the town’s cosmopolitan character was firmly established.
The Cape was returned to the Dutch in 1803, but the British regained control at the Battle of Blaauwberg (1806), and it formally became a British colony in 1814. Major companies established offices here, and within a few short years much of the infrastructure that supported the historic city centre was in place. In 1815, the first postal packet service began, with ships sailing between Cape Town and England. This eventually led to the first passenger cruise liners, and was the start of the long-standing association between the city and the Union-Castle shipping line, whose old Cape headquarters now house the Maritime Museum at the V&A Waterfront.
The small settlements around Cape Town started to grow. Simon’s Town became home to the navy, and developed a thriving fishing and whaling industry.

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